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Premier Paper takes delivery of UK first lithium-ion powered Kombi order picker and trilateral stacker from Jungheinrich

Jungheinrich UK has provided leading independent paper merchant, Premier Paper, with the UK’s first lithium-ion battery powered Kombi order picker and trilateral stacker for operating the very narrow aisles of its main distribution centre in Minworth, Birmingham.

The EKX 516 Kombiis the only lithium-ion powered truck of the specification for integrating with the site’s unique storage rack layout, at the required lift height. It opens the door for Premier Paper to deploy lithium-ion technology for the first time, and will allow the site, which runs shifts 24 hours a day, Monday to Friday, to significantly increase operational efficiency through materials handling equipment alone.

As Premier Paper’s central hub, the Minworth distribution centre leads 18 depots nationwide in moving more than 2,000 pallets every day, facilitating sales of 250,000 tonnes of paper each year, and hitting an annual turnover of £225 million. Relying on shift work to cover the site’s 24x5 operations, Premier Paper required a truck with a longer battery life, more suitable for opportune charging, to increase throughput and reduce downtime.

As Simon Kennedy, central operations manager, Premier Paper, explains: “Having previously approached Jungheinrich to source two factory refurbished Kombis for our site in Langley, we were impressed with the level of service provided and decided to discuss requirements for our Minworth operation with them too. Jungheinrich worked consultatively with us to find the exact solution to meet these needs, and offered a competitive price in doing so. The team was initially looking at bespoke ways to provide us with larger, more powerful lead-acid replacement batteries with a two shift operating capability, even involving their battery specialist colleague from Germany in order to provide us with the best solution, when the lithium-ion EKX 516 Kombi launched.

“The new Kombi promises to have a huge impact on the site’s level of efficiency and productivity, as operators will no longer have to spend time changing batteries, there is no battery maintenance required, and, most importantly, the truck can be charged during break times so that it can be in near continuous use. The lithium-ion battery is also more energy efficient, in line with our environmental values, but until now, the extremely narrow aisles of our distribution centre have limited the equipment available to us. We’re delighted there’s now the opportunity to unlock these gains from our distribution centre by implementing such an easy solution from Jungheinrich.”

Steve Shakespeare, business director, Jungheinrich UK, concludes: “With the increasing pressure placed on distribution centres to deliver around the clock, we strongly believe lithium-ion technology will soon become the standard energy storage system in intralogistics, and we’re committed to making it as accessible as possible for our customers. Already, lithium-ion batteries feature on more than 90 per cent of Jungheinrich trucks and we continue to lead the way in its research and development. We’re pleased to have helped Premier Paper introduce lithium-ion technology to its Minworth operation and look forward to supporting the team during its transition.”

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